Saturday, November 22, 2008

I was misunderstood, says furious Harvey, by Paul Bibby - The Sydney Morning Herald - 22nd November 2008

Australian charities have lambasted billionaire Gerry Harvey over his statements in a new book that donating money to charities that help the homeless is wasted, but the retail king says his comments have been misunderstood.

"I'm furious. I haven't suggested that homeless people shouldn't get anything. What I said was that I believed in helping people reach their potential," he told the Herald

"I've done plenty of giving in my time. I've given heaps of money to bloody charity. This caused me a lot of pain. It's bullshit."

Mr Harvey's offices were inundated with calls after the release of a new book, in which he says that giving money to people who "are not putting anything back into the community" is like "helping a whole heap of no-hopers to survive for no good reason".

"You could go out and give a million dollars to a charity tomorrow to help the homeless. You could argue that it is just wasted," Mr Harvey said.

Charities contacted by the Herald said his comments were misguided. "I think Mr Harvey would have a hard time trying to find an organisation that would waste a million dollars in the way he said it might be," Anglicare spokesman James Wackett said.

"Organisations like ours … are about solving problems, not perpetuating them. We've all moved … from simple charity to addressing the causes of poverty."

(Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald)

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